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Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Hazards of Construction Work; Pennsylvania Contractor Fined Thousands in Proposed Penalties

In terms of workplace injuries, construction sites pose significant hazards to Pennsylvania workers. Additionally, injuries that take place at a construction site are more likely to be fatal than those at other workplaces. The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) maintains statistics on construction-related accidents.

The statistics show that over six million people work at over 250,000 construction sites across the nation daily.

Fall protection is a significant factor in ensuring the safety of construction workers, according to OSHA. The administration requires that employers provide healthful workplaces, and it ensures standards are met concerning training, assistance, and education.

Studies show that safety nets, guardrails, and covers can prevent injuries and deaths to workers resulting from falls. Additionally, ladders and stairways account for thousands of injuries to construction workers, which can be prevented by maintaining proper loading weight on the ladders and making sure that they are long enough to safely reach work areas.

Pennsylvania construction companies may be cited for resulting injuries or a failure to abide by safety regulations. On December 20, 2016, OSHA released a news brief citing a Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based contractor for repeated and serious safety violations at a construction site. The inspection began in June 2016, after an OSHA compliance officer observed the company’s employees had been exposed to fall hazards.

OSHA cited the company on December 9, 2016 for failing to provide its workers with safe access to scaffold platforms.  These were repeat violations, meaning that the company had been cited before (in February 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013).  The company was also cited for failing to maintain fall protection that would prevent falls of up to 13 feet, and for failing to implement fall prevention training.

The director of OSHA’s Philadelphia Area Office was quoted as saying that by failing to comply with OSHA safety standards, the company continued to place workers at risk of injury or death.  The director also noted that the types of hazards in the inspection were preventable and were required to be corrected immediately by the company.

OSHA issued the company proposed penalties of $87,794. Within 15 days from receiving the citations and proposed penalties, the company must comply or request a conference with the OSHA area director.

Fall protection remains a high priority for ensuring the safety of workers, according to OSHA.  The administration maintains that work-related fatalities in the construction industry are led by falls, followed by electrocution.  By providing fall protection equipment and training workers on how to properly use devices, injuries can be prevented.

Simply because construction workers are exposed to dangers at the workplace does not mean they should suffer work-related injuries more than others.  Companies are required to protect against known hazards. If you or a family member suffered injuries at work, the workers’ compensation attorneys at Needle Law can help you seek compensation, including medical expenses. Call our office at 570-344-1266 or complete our online form and schedule a free consultation.

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